NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, an update on Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau’s contract situation plus some off-season goaltender targets for the Sabres.

UPDATE ON GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT TALKS

CALGARY SUN: On Sunday, Wes Gilbertson reported Flames general manager Brad Treliving promised his club’s fans that he will “move heaven and earth and do everything we possibly can” to sign Johnny Gaudreau to a new contract. Gaudreau, 28, becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 13. He’s in the midst of a career year with 107 points and a key reason why the Flames are sitting atop the Pacific Division as the regular season draws to a close.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

We’re going to do everything we humanly possibly can to have him be back here and be a Flame for a long, long time,” said Treliving. The Flames GM praised Gaudreau for how well he’s performed under head coach Darryl Sutter.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun said Treliving had better move heaven and earth because that’s what it’s going to take to sign Gaudreau. He indicated there’s nothing new regarding his contract talks, pointing out the two sides agreed to pick up those conversations following this season.

LeBrun said there’s been “really good dialogue” all season long and there’s still time to sign him after this season. He also praised both sides for the lack of drama regarding this situation. It hasn’t proved to be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to cost the Flames a lot of money to keep Gaudreau in Calgary. His performance this season (sitting third overall in league scoring) has pushed his value much higher than it would’ve been last summer. At that point, I think the Gaudreau camp would’ve sought between $8 and $9 million annually. Now, it could be closer to $10 million annually on a long-term deal. Maybe the Flames can get it close to $9 million by selling Gaudreau on an eight-year contract, something he can’t get on the open market where the limit is seven years.

Complicating things is the Flames’ cap space for next season. Cap Friendly shows them with $55.4 million invested in 12 active players. That gives them plenty of space to re-sign Gaudreau, but they’ve got Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington due for new deals this summer as restricted free agents with arbitration rights.

That’s why there’s speculation the Flames could attempt to trade Sean Monahan, who has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. Muddling things further, however, is Monahan’s declining performance over the past two years and his recent season-ending hip surgery.

Trading Monahan to shed salary could prove very difficult. Buying him out this summer won’t be an option if he hasn’t fully recovered from his surgery during that period and he doesn’t agree to go along with it.

SUGGESTED SABRES GOALTENDER TARGETS

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski examined some potential off-season goalie targets for the Sabres if 40-year-old Craig Anderson decides not to return next season.

The Sabres have the cap space to overpay for an experienced netminder on a short-term deal. However, there are few options in this summer’s UFA market. That list includes Darcy Kuemper, Mikko Koskinen, Jaroslav Halak, Braden Holtby, Ville Husso, Joonas Korpisalo, Casey DeSmith, Tomas Greiss and David Rittich. Most have endured recent struggles while the others might not want to sign with the Sabres.

Lysowski believes they might have better luck in this summer’s trade market. Options could include the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson or the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Sabres have a projected $40 million in cap space for 2022-23. They’ll have to spend to reach a cap floor that could be close to $61 million. Their ongoing struggles and perpetual rebuild could make them a difficult sell to potential free agents or as preferred trade destinations for the others.

Quick lacks no-trade protection but he only has a year remaining on his contract and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kings management lets him finish it in Los Angeles. Varlamov has a 16-team no-trade list and Gibson a 10-team no-trade list. Lysowski suggested Georgiev’s inconsistent play this season might not make him enticing for the Sabres.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 16, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at the Ducks’ potential offseason plans and what the future could hold for Coyotes defenseman Anton Stralman and Canucks winger Alex Chiasson.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE DUCKS THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek’s plans for the offseason. He observed Verbeek has the assets to make some moves this summer with 14 picks in the first three rounds of the next three NHL drafts. His club also carries $41 million in salary-cap space for next season and must spend to reach the projected $60.8 million cap minimum.

Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek (NHL Images).

Some of that money will go toward re-signing restricted free agents such as Sonny Milano, Isac Lundestrom and Urho Vaakanainen. Verbeek must also ensure he has sufficient long-term cap room to sign Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Troy Terry after next season.

Stephens suggested the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine and Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois as trade targets. However, he pointed out the high cost of signing those restricted free agents, who could seek short-term deals to take them up to their unrestricted free agent eligibility. Possible UFA targets could include the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ondrej Palat, Vegas Golden Knights’ Reilly Smith and the Colorado Avalanche’s Andre Burakovsky.

Verbeek subsequently acknowledged his salary-cap space and bushel of draft picks heading into this offseason. However, he told Stephens he intends to invest his assets wisely. “I’m not going to do silly deals, if that’s what you’re asking, even though I’ve got lots of cap space.” If he does pursue some UFA talent, he’ll have to sell them on playing for a club rebuilding around a young core.

The Ducks GM might also have to sell John Gibson on his future plans. Having signed an eight-year deal in 2018, the 28-year-old goaltender will have to decide if he wants to remain with a club in transition.

The decision to pick up the option year in head coach Dallas Eakins contract indicates the direction Verbeek is taking the club. Eakins has bought into management’s rebuilding efforts. Bringing him back also provides some stability after two months of changes since Verbeek took over as general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek was among the busiest general managers leading up to last month’s trade deadline, shipping out pending UFAs Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson to playoff contenders for draft picks and prospects. More changes will be coming to the Ducks this summer with some additions via trades and/or free agency and perhaps another notable player being shipped out if Gibson should request a trade to a contender.

Verbeek could surprise us by pursuing a big-name player such as Tkachuk in the trade market or his Flames teammate Johnny Gaudreau via free agency. However, I think he’s going to adhere to a more patient approach this summer by adding more experienced depth to the supporting cast to take some of the burdens off his promising young players.

LATEST ON STRALMAN AND CHIASSON

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently reported Anton Stralman’s tenure with the Arizona Coyotes might not end after this season. Sources tell Morgan the club is interested in signing the 35-year-old defenseman, who’s in the final season of a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.5 million.

Management values the experience and leadership skills Stralman brings to their rebuilding roster. The blueliner is in no rush to decide his future but admitted he and his family enjoy living in the Phoenix area.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma recently reported Alex Chiasson’s resurgent performance this season is showing value to the Vancouver Canucks. He could also draw interest in this summer’s UFA market. The 31-year-old winger is making the most out of this season after earning a one-year deal following a training-camp tryout last fall.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 26, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill: the Canadiens came close to moving Jeff Petry at the trade deadline, possible offseason goalie targets for the Devils, and what could be in store for the Ducks this summer.

THE CANADIENS ALMOST MOVED PETRY AT THE DEADLINE

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited Kent Hughes’ intermission appearance on TSN on Thursday during which the Canadiens general manager admitted a club was very interested in acquiring Jeff Petry before the trade deadline. However, a deal couldn’t be reached that would benefit both teams.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

D’Amico also noted Hughes saying he’d had conversations “a group of teams” regarding Petry. Most of the teams interested in dealing for the 34-year-old defenseman were close to the salary cap, making it difficult to take on his contract. The Habs GM suggested trading Petry could be an offseason move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry earns an annual average value of $6.25 million through 2024-25. He also carries a no-movement clause and a 15-team no-trade list.

It won’t be easy moving him this summer but Hughes could have a better opportunity to do so with teams carrying more cap space. He’ll have to do so before free agency begins on July 13 as most teams will quickly burn through their cap room soon after the market opens.

OFFSEASON GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE DEVILS

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently examined potential offseason options for the New Jersey Devils to bolster their goaltending depth. Mackenzie Blackwood’s development as a starter has been slowed in part by injury while there’s no guarantee with backup Jonathan Bernier following his hip surgery. They could stick with Nico Daws in a backup role but that depends on how management wants to handle his development.

Goaltenders who could be available via this summer’s free-agent market include the St. Louis Blues Ville Husso, the Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper, and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev. Trade options could include the Blues’ Jordan Binnington or the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve singled out the more notable of Goldman’s suggested free-agent and trade targets for the Devils. Follow the above link for the full list and her detailed analysis of each goaltender.

Husso could be available if the Blues feel he’ll be too expensive to retain with Binnington already on the books. That seems more likely than moving Binnington, who’s struggled this season and has a full no-trade clause on a contract carrying a $6 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Husso could be a more affordable option than some on this list but he only has this season as an NHL starter under his belt.

Kuemper could end up re-signed by the Avs if he backstops them on a deep playoff run. Signing with the Devils would cast Blackwood’s future as their starter into doubt. Georgiev could seek a starter’s job and might not be keen to fill a backup role in New Jersey.

Gibson’s situation with the Ducks could get interesting if he doesn’t want to be part of what could be a long rebuild. He’s signed through 2026-27 with an AAV of $6.4 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. The Devils have the cap space to absorb his cap hit and sufficient depth in prospects and young players to entice the Ducks but that would depend on whether he’d agree to trade to New Jersey.

DUCKS GM ANTICIPATES A BUSY OFFSEASON

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens expects Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek will be busy in the coming offseason as he embarks on a rebuild of his roster. With a number of draft picks acquired in recent trades, Verbeek indicated it’ll provide him with options to perhaps acquire players “that might be moved down the line in their development”.

Verbeek also indicated he’ll be looking at this summer’s free-agent market for players that can improve the roster. Stephens speculated the Ducks GM could also look to the trade market with his draft capital to perhaps acquire a player like the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL players like Chychrun who are 25-or-younger could be Verbeek’s offseason targets. I doubt he’ll pursue a big-ticket free agent this summer as he won’t want to invest expensive contracts in aging talent. It’ll also be interesting to see if he shops a veteran on a long-term deal like John Gibson or Cam Fowler.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2022

Check out the latest on Claude Giroux, Christian Dvorak, Max Domi, Marc-Andre Fleury, Alexander Radulov. Semyon Varlamov and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE LATEST ON GIROUX, SANHEIM AND DVORAK.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Colorado Avalanche are interested in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, “but there’s a preference for the Panthers, although it doesn’t look like anything is close”. The Flyers haven’t been impressed with offers thus far but it’s expected the real negotiations start following Giroux’s 1,000th game tonight. The 34-year-old forward controls this process.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not sure if Friedman is referring to the Panthers as Giroux’s or the Flyers’ preference. Regardless, I’m not surprised that he hasn’t been moved yet. He and the Flyers wanted to have him reach his 1,000th game as a Flyer. He could be moved over the weekend.

Friedman also addressed rumors suggesting the Flyers might shop Travis Sanheim after re-signing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen last week. He noted the two played together so it would make sense to keep them. He also wondered what the Flyers will do with talented rearguard Ivan Provorov given his struggles this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d be more shocked if the Flyers move Provorov than I would if they move Sanheim. While general manager Chuck Fletcher will consider his options, I think he’ll keep those two defensemen.

TVA SPORTS: As Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak returns from injury, Renaud Lavoie believes the club’s goal is to trade him. He considers the 26-year-old Dvorak more of a Western Conference player. Lavoie said several teams were interested in Dvorak, including the Minnesota Wild, but it remains to be seen if they’re willing to compromise to get him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliotte Friedman said he’d heard the Wild had a prior interest in Dvorak but they can’t fit him into their lineup now. The Wild will be facing a salary-cap crunch after this season. Dvorak’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual cap hit of $4.45 million.

UPDATE ON THE LEAFS AND BLUE JACKETS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas doesn’t want to part with any of his top prospects or his first-round pick for a rental player. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm is their top target but they’ve also looked at the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, the Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, and the San Jose Shark’s Jacob Middleton.

The Leafs have been shopping Travis Dermott and Justin Holl for months. Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if Dermott gets a fresh start elsewhere. He also makes a “completely insane prediction” of the Leafs acquiring New York Islanders blueliner Zdeno Chara.

If the Leafs decide to pursue Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury it’ll come down to whether Fleury believes he can win in Toronto. Friedman also dismissed the possibility of the Leafs acquiring John Gibson from the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to cost the Leafs a top prospect and/or a first-round pick as part of the return for Lindholm, Giordano and Klingberg, though the latter isn’t going anywhere with teammate Miro Heiskanen sidelined by mononucleosis. Those guys are all slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. I also don’t see Chara agreeing to a trade to the Leafs.

Fleury’s situation is so muddied we don’t know if he’s staying or going. At this point, I’ll be surprised if there’s a deal that will work well enough for the Blackhawks to approach him about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs end up sticking with the goalies they already have and hope for the best.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi could be on the radar of the Washington Capitals while Jeff Marek suggested the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations. Marek also suggested Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan as a fit with the Edmonton Oilers but Friedman doubts that’ll happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber believes Domi could be a good fit in Washington. However, his $5.3 million cap hit makes him an expensive rental for the cap-strapped Capitals.

MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman repeated his earlier reports suggesting the Canadiens were among the teams interested in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, as well as contract extension talks continuing between the Nashville Predators and Filip Forsberg.

The New York Rangers have shown interest in Dallas Stars winger Alexander Radulov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But are the Stars willing to move him? They’re not believed to be in sell mode as they jockey for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Radulov also might not be the best fit for the Rangers. The 35-year-old winger has been hampered by injuries in recent years and his production is down this season with just 18 points in 52 games.

Two sources expressed doubt to Friedman that New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov will be going anywhere by the trade deadline. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck’s name has come up in the rumor mill quite a bit of late.

The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs remain in the market for a left-side defenseman.

Keep an eye on the St. Louis Blues. Friedman expects they’ll be busy in the trade market. They were interested Ben Chiarot before he was traded to the Panthers and are linked to the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are pressed for cap space so it might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move, or a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around if they intend to add a notable defenseman.

The Capitals continue to monitor the goalie market.

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp has been linked to the Colorado Avalanche and Boston Bruins.

There’s not much movement in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA forward Nick Paul.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 12, 2021

Brady Tkachuk reaches a milestone, Ben Bishop’s career is over, more details emerge regarding Olympic quarantine rules, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk tallied his first career NHL hat trick while Anton Forsberg made 25 saves for his first career NHL shutout as the Ottawa Senators upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0. Drake Batherson had three assists and Thomas Chabot collected two helpers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Sebastian Aho scored two goals and collected an assist to lead the Carolina Hurricanes over the Edmonton Oilers 3-1. Aho has netted multiple points in five straight games. The Hurricanes have won four straight while the Oilers’ losing skid has reached five straight. The Oilers played without defenseman Kris Russell (upper body), who was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

The New York Islanders finally picked up their first home win at UBS Arena by doubling up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Zach Parise scored his first of the season while Mathew Barzal, Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each had two points. Devils center Nico Hischier and defenseman Ryan Graves missed the game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday.

Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark kicked out 40 shots in a 4-2 victory over the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their fourth straight defeat. Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand each had two points. The Flames also honored winger Milan Lucic for his 1,000th career NHL game. He reached that milestone in April but the Flames wanted to honor him during a game against the Bruins, with whom he won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

A late goal by David Kampf gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, who had overcome a 4-1 deficit. William Nylander had a goal and two assists while Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek made 31 saves in his first game since being sidelined by a groin injury in October.

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals as the Philadelphia Flyers dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-3, winning two straight games for the first time since October. Travis Konecny picked up two assists. Arizona defenseman Jakub Chychrun and forward Ryan Dzingel missed this game as both are day-to-day with injuries. The Coyotes have lost five straight.

T.J. Oshie’s shootout goal lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 3-2, extending the latter’s losing skid to seven games. Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary returned from injury and scored the tying goal to force overtime and the shootout.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 33-save shutout from Casey DeSmith to blank the Anaheim Ducks 1-0. Brock McGinn tallied the only goal. Ducks goalie John Gibson left the game following the second period with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

An overtime goal by Jake Bean gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken, who scored three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Max Domi had two goals and an assist for the Jackets. The Kraken were without Yanni Gourde and Riley Sheahan after they and assistant coach Jay Leach were placed in COVID protocol.

The Minnesota Wild’s eight-game winning streak came to an end as they fell 2-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Brendan Lemieux snapped a 1-1 tie during the third period in his first game since serving a five-game suspension for biting the Senators’ Brady Tkachuk. Kings defenseman Alexander Edler left the game early in the first period with an injured left leg following a hit by Wild forward Brandon Duhaime. Kings coach Todd McLellan said Edler could be out “long term”.

Erik Karlsson scored what proved to be the game-winner as the San Jose Sharks held off the Dallas Stars 2-1. Sharks center Tomas Hertl scored in his fourth straight game while James Reimer made 34 saves for the win in his 400th career NHL contest. San Jose forward Kevin Labanc left the game following his first shift after being hit by the Stars’ Jani Hakanpaa.

The St. Louis Blues got a goal and an assist from Pavel Buchnevich to beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-1, spoiling netminder Jake Allen’s return to St. Louis for the first time since he was traded to Montreal in 2020. Former Canadiens goalie Charlie Lindgren picked up the win with 22 stops. Before the game, the Canadiens announced Tyler Toffoli would be sidelined eight weeks following surgery on an injured hand while Jake Evans is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars general manager Jim Nill said Ben Bishop’s playing days are over after the 35-year-old goaltender spent over 14 times attempting to rehabiliate a degenerative knee injury. The news comes after Bishop allowed eight goals on 34 shots during a game on Thursday while with the club’s AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He was recalled by the Stars yesterday and placed on long-term injury reserve. He will speak with the media on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a sad ending for a terrific, albeit injury-hampered career. The 6’7”, 210-pound Bishop was among the league’s elite goaltenders when healthy, winning 222 of 397 starts with a career goals-against average of 2.32, a .921 save percentage and 33 shutouts. “Big Ben” was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy in 2014 and 2016 with the Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2019 with the Stars. He was also a Second Team All-Star in 2016 and 2019.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are still awaiting word on the condition of captain Blake Wheeler after he left Friday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks with a possible knee injury. Jets coach Paul Maurice suspects Wheeler could be sidelined for a while.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Canucks, they placed defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body) on injured reserve on Friday.

TSN: Chris Johnston reported the International Olympic Committee confirmed any confirmed positive COVID-19 test at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics must produce two subsequent negative tests 24 hours apart. Otherwise, the quarantine period could last from three to five weeks according to Chinese law.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be troublesome for NHL players participating in the Games if they should contract COVID while in China. Johnston indicated there will be a call between the IOC, the International Ice Hockey Federation, NHL and the NHL Players Association medical personnel soon to review these matters.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players to decide before the Jan. 10 opt-out deadline if they’ll still participate. The possibility of spending up to five weeks in China under quarantine could give participants a reason to reconsider taking part in the Games.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

The latest on Tomas Hertl, a suggestion for the Ducks to embrace a full rebuild, and speculation over whether the Penguins should shop for a backup in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz still believes there is a 50-50 chance Tomas Hertl signs a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks. While the 28-year-old center seems happier this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to finish his career in San Jose or the Sharks want to sign him to a long, expensive contract.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl has said he hopes to speak with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson later this season about a contract extension. However, it won’t be easy to fit a new deal for him under their cap hit for next season.

Cap Friendly shows them with almost $62 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Assuming Hertl and Wilson agree to a $7 million annual average value, that won’t leave much room to bolster their roster unless they can shed some salary. Some will suggest buying out Evander Kane’s contract but that would leave a lot of dead cap space over the next six seasons.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a true roster rebuild following Bob Murray’s resignation as general manager. He suggested attempting to move John Gibson in a well-timed, sell-high trade.

The 28-year-old goaltender carries a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Otherwise, they risk his performance declining by the time they’re truly ready to contend. O’Brien acknowledged trades involving prominent goalies with term on their contracts traded during the season but felt they should be aggressive and creative in pushing their rebuild.

With Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson on expiring contracts, O’Brien proposed shopping them (along with Gibson) at the March trade deadline. They could also weaponize their cap space by moving those players out to create enough room to target teams willing to pay a premium to unload some contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely get a better grasp of what the Ducks interim management intends to do by the second half of the season. They could start shopping those pending free agents and veterans like Gibson who might not fit into their long-term plans if they’ve tumbled out of playoff contention by March. However, they could also retain those players if they’re in the thick of the postseason race.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Penguins will be shopping for a reliable backup as Casey DeSmith has allowed four or more goals in seven of his last 10 starts dating back to last March.

Kingerski noted sources said Penguins management was interested in finding an experienced backup over the summer. Brian Burke (president of hockey operations) downplayed those rumors last month but Kingerski speculates that might be more the result of a bad trade market than a lack of interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Josh Yohe doesn’t think it’s time yet for the Penguins to start searching for a better backup. However, he feels DeSmith needs to pick up his play and soon. A few more shaky performances and the Penguins won’t have much choice but to find a suitable understudy for starter Tristan Jarry.